Forensic Science Program

College of Pharmacy

Graduate Program and Curriculum

  The M.S. program in forensic science is administered by the Department of Biopharmaceutical Sciences in the College of Pharmacy. The program encompasses a broad knowledge of the basic areas of forensic science laboratory disciplines (biology/biochemistry; chemistry and trace evidence analysis; drug identification and toxicology; and pattern evidence) with emphasis on the integration of analytical and interpretative skills. The role of forensic laboratory sciences in justice system processes is an integrating theme. There is an opportunity for some specialization through the strategic selection of electives, and choice of research area.

Degree Requirements

The M.S. degree program in forensic science requires completion of 38 credits of graduate study (for students entering Fall, 2009, and later), including a research component.

1. Required Courses (Core):

BPS 580 Foundations of Forensic Science - 2 cr
BPS 581 Forensic Analysis of Biological Evidence - 4 cr
BPS 582 Forensic Chemistry and Trace Evidence Analysis - 4 cr
BPS 583 Physical Pattern Evidence Analysis - 4 cr
BPS 584 Forensic Drug Chemistry and toxicology - 4 cr
BPS 587 Forensic Science Seminar - 1 cr
        (must be taken in two different semesters for a total of 2 cr hrs)
BPS 588 Expert Witness Testimony and Courtroom Demeanor - 3 cr

       One of the following courses:

BPS 597 Research Forensic Science - 3 cr ++
BPS 598 M.S. Thesis Research - min 6 cr

2. Electives: 9-12 semester hours. Students with no prior forensic laboratory work experience, who are unable or do not plan to follow the Residency option, are advised to do an internship (2-4 hrs of BPS 592) if possible.

++ Comprehensive Examination required for students choosing to fulfill the research requirement with BPS 597


The elective courses are suggestions. There is no guarantee that courses outside the BPS department will run every semester, or fit into a student's schedule.

All students may consider:

Bstt  400 Biostatistics I
BPS 589 Special Topics in Forensic Science
BPS 591 Topics in Forensic Microscopy
BPS 592 Forensic Science Internship
BPS 595 Departmental Seminar
BPS 596 Independent Study in Forensic Science

Those accepted into the Residency Program are eligible to take:

BPS 584 Topics in Specialty Forensic Examinations
and may take
BPS 590 Forensic Science Residency

Students with strong chemistry backgrounds and interest in drug chemistry / toxicology may consider:

MdCh 562 Spectroscopy in Medicinal Chemistry
PmPg 512 Microscopy of Natural Drug Products
Pcol 430 Principles of Toxicology
BPS 542 Pharmacodynamics of Substance Abuse

Students who intend to try to specialize in forensic biology / DNA must have one course in each of molecular biology, genetics, and biochemistry to meet national guidelines.The courses can be undergraduate or graduate, but must be for credit. Students who want to specialize in this area should use their graduate electives to take any of these courses that they are missing from undergraduate school.

GCLS 501 Biochemistry
 One or both of:
   BioS/Chem 452 Biochemistry I
   BioS/Chem 454 Biochemistry II
BioS 220 / 221 Genetics / Genetics Lab
  [This is an undergraduate course]
GCLS 502 Molecular Biology or one or both of:  
      BioS 524 Molecular Biology I  
      BioS 525 Molecular Biology II